After ministry experiences in high school and training in college, Jean Johnson began ministering to Southeast Asians in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While you might think that would prepare her for her first experiences overseas, she discovered that some of the things she thought were assets actually held her back.

After years of ministry experience, she wrote a book, “We are Not the Hero: A Missionary's Guide to Sharing Christ, Not a Culture of Dependency.” Here's more about her and how she got started.

Where and what people do you primarily serve?
We serve the sent, the senders, the trainers, and the recipients of mission efforts.

How do you serve those people?
Come alongside this global community to create a culture of dignity, sustainability, and multiplication in Great Commission efforts.

When did you begin to realize that you had a heart for missions or ministry?
In high school, I had a rather rapid and intentional connection to first generation S.E. Asian refugees who came to Minneapolis. I befriended them and asked to learn their story, while my peers avoided them due to their differences.

How and when did God lead you to this? How did you recognize His call?
In college, I asked God questions such as, “Who learns the Cambodian, Hmong, Vietnamese culture to such a degree they can make the good news make sense to that people group?” This is a dangerous question to ask God. He led me to prepare myself for such a task. At this point, I changed my major from the social sciences to cross-cultural communications.

Did you have a clear and measurable goal for ministry?
My goal was reformed and refined with experience. I believe I have landed back at the beginning in some ways: make disciples who have the vision and capability to makes disciples in their God-given context.

What would you do differently if you were starting today?
I would NOT plant or model the Western church in places like Cambodia.

How do you connect with new partners or supporters and stay connected with your existing partners?
The organization I direct, Five Stones Global, blogs intentionally about dignity, sustainability, and multiplication, which encourages, equips, and challenges partners and supporters. Otherwise we send newsletters and other forms of communication. Our website is intriguing and informative:

What books, tools, or resources that are important to doing what you do?
We Are Not The Hero is popular. We are coming out with a Participant's Guide and Videos the middle of Jan. 2018. Additionally, a new workbook is headed your way: Standing on Our Own Feet: Strengthening Church Dignity in Our Global Mission Efforts

How do you get ongoing training and coaching?
Our speciality is coaching and training based on our tagline: DAY 1 affects DAY 100 and We Are Not The Hero. If desired, please visit or email

What first steps or training would you recommend that others just starting out?
Our DAY 1 affects DAY 100 tagline reveals that the beginning is important. We will either inhibit or strengthen local dignity, sustainability, or multiplication as we lay foundations. If you are interested in Five stones Global training, we suggest your start with the DAY 1 affects DAY 100 Introductory workshop or go through the We Are Not The Hero book, guide, and video with a small group or team.

What is a critical mindset or perspective regarding listening, teachability, flexibility, grace, etc?
Globalization has fooled us into thinking the cross-cultural work is no longer our role. So, we organize and conceptualize the mission task based on our culture, standard of living, and church experience. In the end, we end up with people striving to be American Christians.

A critical mindset to overcome this is to take on the apostle Paul's attitude and approach: “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:1-5).

Knowing what you know now, would you do it all again?
I would do it all again, but set a goal to be a humble learner before a doer in cross-cultural work; and count learning as ministry.

Jean Johnson

Jean Johnson

Missionary, Servant

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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